Digital Strategy Inspired by Gordon Ramsay

November 9, 2011 § Leave a comment


November 9, 2011. I recently watched an episode of Kitchen Nightmares, a show that airs on Fox and stars celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay. I imagine a warning bell is going off by now. Something along the lines of what does a chef have to do with digital strategy. I promise to hit the punchline quickly.

So…Gordon walks into a kitchen, meets the folks, tries the food, checks out the kitchen, watches the restaurant operate and then completely implodes. I have only seen a couple of episodes, but that is his general approach. The anger is derived from extreme displeasure of the restaurant on all fronts. By the way…if you watch a couple shows, you might be angry too.

However, Gordon channels this into his mission – turning the place around to create a better dining experience . What does this mean…better food, better service, better operations.

To get there Gordon works with the staff, figures out a new menu, cleans up the kitchen, redesigns the seating area, and gives everyone clear goals going into the restaurant’s new opening night.

So as I am watching this show, I am thinking this is interesting. Gordon is more or less following the same approach I do for digital strategy work, but for the food industry.

Think about it, he starts with the current state (people, processes, and technology – the kitchen) and benchmarks them against best practices. He then begins building the capabilities by creating the right menu, right experience, and right store front. After the foundation is established he makes sure each staff member knows what to do and how they will be measured.  Then he opens the door and evaluates again, this time making adjustments on the fly until he gets where he wants – a successful client experience and restaurant operation.

In a nutshell.. .strategy plus rapid execution. What impressed me the most about Gordon’s version of this…is that he got it done in 5 days.

So here is my point, I think digital strategy work needs to sound more like Gordon Ramsay’s approach. Imagine if Gordon took 6 months to turn the restaurant around. It would be out of business. Fortune 500 firms have a bit more luxury to take time, but truth to be told, there is still plenty of opportunity to reduce time spent on strategy and implementation cycles around digital (and with most other things).

Anyway, my parting advice is to think more like Gordon Ramsay and less like Days of our Lives in terms of length, complexity, and approach when it comes to strategy development and subsequent execution.

Lastly, for those of you with any interest in seeing Gordon in action, see the Kitchen Nightmares YouTube Channel.


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